Helicopter safety matters to all of us

In a 10-year span from 2005-2015, there were 136 helicopter accidents, 65 of them fatal with 312 reported deaths as a result. That’s far too many, in the eyes of the USHST, although it is getting better each year.

helicopter safety-1.jpgPromoting and advocating for helicopter safety isn’t just about the pilots and their passengers. It’s also about the communities in which the helicopters operate.

That’s the mission of the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). The goal of the organization -- part of the International Helicopter Safety Team -- is to drastically reduce the number of chopper accidents and to promote safety and other factors affecting what it considers “an unacceptable civil helicopter accident rate.”

The organization is made up of a team of United States government and industry leaders. The goals of the group are impressive:

  • Zero Tolerance = Zero Accidents
  • Reduce the civil helicopter accident rate by 80 percent.
  • Reverse any negative trend and improve safety culture in the helicopter industry.
  • Promote safety publications and toolkits to operators across the country for maximum awareness of the USHST message.

The effort includes education and advocacy for helicopter pilots and personnel. The group promotes its efforts among commercial and private helicopter pilots and crews, including those who are part search and rescue missions, TV media outlets, medical transport and for pleasure.

A spokesman for the organization said encouraging and promoting helicopter safety benefits the entire community since often accidents occur and impact those on the ground as well.

As part of its effort, the group has established partnerships with significant helicopter operations and encourages development and implementation of safety interventions by sharing lessons learned through accident analysis.

Training runs the gamut, from pre-flight safety checks to operating while facing visibility issues and encouraging operators to report issues they see from other “reckless” pilots in the sky. The website, http://www.ushst.org/Home.aspx, provides an extensive collection of videos, data and tutorials to educate and inform pilots. The agency also is very vocal in its advocacy, working with the media and other outlets by sharing press releases and other content geared toward meeting the goal of zero tolerance for helicopter accidents.

As a pilot or part of a crew, safety begins with check. Check out the UHST selectionof videos focused on safety and advocacy on their YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg-xzn_R-cyAlMx1OQfnLgA/videos

SWITLIK Survival Products provides a number of safety and survival products geared for helicopter operations. Check out what we offer: http://www.switlik.com/aviation

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